Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan asserted on Friday he is Narendra Modi's "Hanuman" and that the prime minister lives in his heart.
Paswan's statement came on a day when he was excoriated by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who called the LJP leader a "vote Katua" (splitter of votes) and accused him of trying to create a confusion by harping on his equations with senior leaders of the saffron party.
"The prime minister lives in my heart... I am like his Hanuman. If they (his critics) want, they can prise open my heart and see that. I don't need to use the prime minister's photograph," Paswan said.
Paswan, who led his party out of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar and is contesting alone, was recently warned by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including former Maharashtra chief minister
Devendra Fadnavis and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, of legal action if his party were to use the prime minister's photograph for election campaign.
"The chief minister (Nitish Kumar) needs his (Modi's) photograph more, he needs to share the dais with the prime minister as he had consistently opposed him on the issue of Article 370, instant triple talaq, Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.
"One thing I make clear today that I was, I am and will be with the BJP in future too. It's my resolve to form a BJP-LJP government in Bihar after November 10, the day the election results are announced," he said, with his father and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan's photograph forming the background.
Paswan faced stinging criticism from Javadekar who said, "We want to make it clear that we have no relations (with LJP), and we do not like this politics of spreading confusion."
Other senior BJP leaders, including party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, too hit out at Paswan.
Yadav accused Paswan of practising "politics of lies", saying he had been praising the Bihar government in February this year.
"Chirag should not either live in illusion or nurse any illusion or spread illusion," Yadav tweeted.
Javadekar said BJP's alliance in Bihar is with JD-U, Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM-S and Vikassheel Insaan Party, asserting the NDA combine will win three-fourth majority in the state.
The LJP is nothing more than "vote katua" and it will not be able to make much impact, he said.